There are a number of US medal manufacturers still supplying the armed forces of the United States today. This number peaked post WW2 as the requirement for the issue of WW2 service medals was in high demand. A lot of these manufacturers were jewellery companies who were awarded Government Contracts to fill the need for this high demand and one of the main area’s of this industry was Attleboro, Massachusetts.
The City of Attleboro, Bristol County, Massachusetts was once known as the Jewellery Capital of the world due to its many jewellery manufacturers, some of which turned their skills into medal manufacturing during and post WW2. LG Balfour, Swank, The Robbins Company and Williams & Anderson were all Attleboro based manufacturers.
New York State also provided the base for other manufacturers such as the American Emblem Co, His Lordship Products and Medallic Art Co.
Quite a few of these have now disappeared, either gone out of business or been amalgamated into other companies.
Medal manufacturers and some of the medals made:
American Emblem Co Ltd, Utica, NY (Bronze Star).
Columbia Button & Nailhead Co, N.Y. CN-GI & C24.
D L Auld Co, Columbus, Ohio. (Occupation Medal, Defense Medal 1945).
General Products Co Inc, Central Falls, RI. (National Defense, WW2 Army Occupation Medal).
Graco Awards*, Tomball, TX. (Graco-GI, G27) Founded 1981 now part of Northwest Territorial Mint (2011). Awarded Government contract circa 1985.
Ira Green*, Providence Rhode Island (G23) Founded 1943. (Purple Heart, Kosovo Service).
Heckethorn Mfg & Supply Co, Littleton, CO. Founded 1939. Closed Littleton plant in 1957. (WW2 Campaign Medal, WW2 Victory Medal).
His Lordship Products, Inc., New York, NY. (HLP-GI, LI-GI, LIGI) Government contract removed circa 1996. (Medal of Honor, Air Force Cross, Purple Heart, Airman’s Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation, Vietnam Service, Coast Guard Distinguished Service).
L.G. Balfour, Attleboro. Mass. Founded 1913. Medals produced during WW2 only.
Medallic Art Co, New York, NY. Founded 1903. (Asiatic Pacific Campaign, Europe Africa Middle East Campaign, American Defense Service).
Silverman Brothers, Rhode Island. (Army Good Conduct).
Daniel Smilo & Sons Inc, NY (Armed Forces Reserve Medal, WW2 Campaign, Medal for Humane Action).
Simco/E.H. Simon Co. N.Y. (Vietnam Service, Antarctica Service, Airman’s Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary).
Swank, Inc., Attleboro, MA. (Bronze Star).
The Robbins Company, Attleboro. Mass. Founded 1892 by jeweler Charles Robbins and in 2007 acquired by the Tharpe Company, Inc. (Distinguished Service Cross, Army Good Conduct).
Uncas Mfg Co, Providence, Rhode Island. Letter U with Arrow through.
Vanguard Industries*,(West) Carlsbad, Ca. (East) Norfolk, Va.
Volupte, Inc., New York, NY. I, (V). (Armed Forces Expeditionary, Vietnam Service).
Whitehead & Hoag, Newark, NJ. Founded 1892 and acquired by Bastian Brothers of Rochester, NY in 1959 but name still used till 1964/65. (Army of Occupation of Germany issued 1941).
Williams & Anderson Co, Attleboro. Mass. (WA-GI, Diamond with 2 dots with line between) (USAF Combat Readiness, Silver Star, Airmans Medal, Meritorious Service, Navy Achievement, Vietnam Service).
J M Woods Products Corp, (WW2 Victory).
(Current Government Contractor *)
For further information on current medal manufacturers visit The United States Institute of Heraldry website. http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medals. Left is 9mm Brooch on modern day striking 1990’s + (G27 Graco Ind) & Horizontal Weave on ribbon which is common on all ribbons. Left Centre is possibly Philippines or Japanese manufacture, date unknown, unusually vertical weave on a 9mm ribbon brooch. Right Centre post war with 12mm brooch, thicker planchet more golden patina post WW2 US Mint issue. Right is post WW2 US Mint issue on Loop suspender with Marine Corp device, awarded to Navy personnel who had seen service with the Marine Corp and a bronze star for campaign or subsequent award.
The Air medal showing difference in manufacture process. Left is post WW2 crimp brooch and right circa WW2 wrap brooch. Right hand medal has more age tone and polished high areas. Definition of Eagle feathers, talons and face area more prominent. Star lines more defined. Lightning flashes in Eagle’s talon’s much thinner. * Early Navy issued US Mint were 2-piece soldered construction at the top pointer.
Navy Achievement medal. Left hand side dates from 1960’s on loop suspender and has aged patina and crisp sharp detail with right hand 12mm crimp with Williams & Anderson mark circa 1970’s and has more of a varnished appearance and detail not as prominent. Both nice medals in their own right.
The Airman’s medal. Left: HLP-GI with makers mark on 12mm crimp circa 1967-75. Centre: E H Simon on 12 mm crimp and Right: E H Simon on Loop suspender, both medals rim marked “Simon NYC” circa early 1960’s. Right hand side medal is 1mm less in diameter at 34mm. Centre medal has a lacquered finish compared to the HLP version which is more subdued in appearance.
The quality of finish on this China Service medal (left) is of a high standard. Nice crisp stamp and edge polished. Note the fine detail showing the Ludendorff Bridge on the WW2 Army of Occupation Medal (right).
Below: Williams & Anderson Co, Providence, RI. Joint Commendation medal with mark dating the medal circa 1963-67. From circa 1967-68 the mark was impressed on the suspender brooch as illustrated on this Army Commendation Medal.
E H SIMON stamped on Antarctica Service Medal rib, 1960’s issue and SIMON NYC on the Airman’s Medal.
1968 issued Vietnam Service Medal with mark for E&H SIMON GI on 12mm crimp suspender.
Maker mark CN-GI, Columbia Button & Nailhead Corp, NY (C24) and MT-GI (unknown maker) both circa 1970’s.
Volupte (V), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal circa 1950’s-1960’s issue.
Unknown Maker mark for Navy Expeditionary Medal issued 1981. W in a square + GI?
The 3 dots on this Bronze Star suspension indicates a Swank Inc., Attleboro, MA. manufactured medal.
(Update 24/03/19). I’ve recently acquired to my ever expanding collection a Vietnam service medal in its original issue box labelled E & H Simon Inc, New York. DSA 100-69-C-1490 dating this medal to 1969 but the crimp suspender is marked HLP-GI. So it would seem that not all medals are in fact how they appear? E & H Simon did stamp the suspension brooch with their name as shown above but on this medal they may have bought in suspension brooches from His Lordship Products? One to think about when buying medals especially from this time period.